|Charlemagne’s Empire – Middle Ages
“A tailor’s abandoned daughter fashions a vain nobleman’s tunic, finding passion between the neckline and hem as misfortune forces her into his precarious aristocratic world.”
Despite centering on weaving and sewing this novel is extremely good. Although the subject matter might seem strange, it is artfully weaved (he-he), throughout the novel in a careful and delicate way. Almost like fine gold embroidery on burgundy wool.
Hughey has created a rich and detailed world occupied by realistic and human characters. Lily is passionate and independent, a trait she does not lose when she meets Theo. She is determined to make her own way in the world, despite some fairly sad circumstances. It was wonderful to see a development in this character, and an understanding of what was socially right at the time, rather than abandonment when she meets a man.
Theo is vain. It took a while to discover the link between the title and the content of the book. He chides men for behaving badly, and then he behaves badly. He passes this behaviour off as a part of his class. He is still full of his own self-importance until his big revelation, which is well written and believable.
I was impressed with the way I could not put this book down. I chose to read this book above all other things I could be doing on a Saturday. I enjoyed it because it was not simply a book about lust. It was about characters, lives and recovering from impossible situations. I found myself almost at the point of tears several times during the novel. Hughey created so much sympathy between reader and character, it was impossible not to become worried for Lily and Theo when things seemed dire, and proud in their individual triumphs.
Although, it was hard for me to picture the village, I think at one point I caught myself picturing 1950’s London instead of 800AD.
This novel is quite long, because I believe it takes the time to be genuine. Not all problems are solved overnight, well, not in a meaningful and long lasting way.
Read if you want a well written novel about characters and meaningful love. Avoid if you want a quickie, pardon the pun, but I cannot move away from the comparison.
(Reviewed by Countess Sarah – 5 Crown Read – Sovereign Queen of Historical Love )